According to yesterday’s Times, it looks like your successor is going to give you a pass on your assorted war crimes. He’s starting down the same path Billy-Boy travelled sixteen years ago when he decided against prosecuting Ronnie for his little misadventures. Billy’s rationale, at that time, was that he was doing so in the name of nonpartisanship.
The Republicans then spent the next eight years trying to crucify him.
On ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos”, Obama uttered that sweet platitude that is music to the ears of all criminals when he espoused “a belief that we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards.”
Of course he’s not going to investigate your policies on torture, illegal detention, habeas corpus and the use of military commissions. His APIAC handlers aren’t about to allow that given the enormity of the war crimes Israel is committing in Gaza. The United States and Israel are joined at the hip, and an indictment of the United States would be an indictment of Israel.
It is a truism that the powerful are never guilty of criminal activity since their power legitimizes their every act.
As one former White House attorney put it, “A new president doesn’t want to look vengeful, and the last thing a new administration wants to do is spend its time and energy rehashing the perceived sins of the old one.”
Moral turpitude is now defined as good manners.
Part of Obama’s good manners is a reluctance to piss off America’s intelligence establishment by calling them to task for their manifold illegalities. A former CIA official summed it up when he said, “If agents were criminally investigated for doing something that top Bush administration asked them to do and that they were assured was legal, intelligence officers would be less willing to take risks to protect the country.”
What a contrast with the 1975 Church Committee’s airing of the CIA’s dirty laundry. The difference is, of course, that the country is far more paranoid now than it was then, so it is willing to tolerate any atrocity as long as it preserves our faux sense of security.
We must be protected from our imaginary threats, and it is the duty of every administration to conduct its foreign affairs in such a manner that these imaginary threats are made real.
I'm thrilled to see your successor continuing this tradition.